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The growing drug menace

Jan 23,2019 - Last updated at Jan 23,2019

Recent frequent arrests and confiscations of illicit drugs crossing the country's borders, especially in the north, have demonstrated that Jordan is, indeed, facing a drug problem.

Not that the use of such drugs is widespread in the country, but the fact that Jordan has become a transient or final destination for illicit drugs has become worrisome.

Not much information or data has been released by the authorities beyond the confirmation of repeated attempts by drug smugglers to cross the county's borders from Syria. The total picture remains cloudy, with no updated information that the problem has reached the crisis level.

After years of armed conflict, Syria has become lawless and a source of drug trade. Jordan is, of course, treaty bound by several international conventions, such as the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which aim to prevent and combat trade in illicit drugs. The Kingdom, of course, enjoys an outstanding record of combating the violation of these international obligations.

Yet, the question that remains is why Jordan has suddenly become inflicted with this curse? No doubt regional conflicts, especially in Syria, have promoted this kind of trade in the region. Borders between countries in the area are not iron sealed, and smugglers who conduct this kind of dangerous trade are driven by financial gains. 

There is hardly a week that passes by without our border control units seizing large amounts of illicit drugs and arresting the culprits. The national effort to combat this trade is obviously most welcomed and appreciated nationally, regionally and internationally. Yet, there comes a point in time when the root causes of this trade need to be reckoned with and addressed.

Jordanian specialised authorities surely have reached certain conclusions on what made this trade across our borders flourish. They are in a position now to prescribe measures to defeat this growing menace before it becomes even worse.

Countries of the region must get together and agree on a regional approach to the growing crisis, even before peace and security return to the area. The sooner this joint effort is made the better.

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